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Sunday, May 19
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

Obama's sacrificial lamb

History repeated itself in Alabama this week as the state’s elected Supreme Court Chief Justice attempted to block a United States Supreme Court ruling overturning the state’s gay ?marriage ban.

The state appealed the original ruling, and this week the Supreme Court rejected it, which led to the last-ditch attempt of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore to outmaneuver the federal government and the tide of history.

The fact is that those who oppose marriage equality are now in the minority, and they are as desperate as they’ve ever been to prevent change. It takes instances like these to remind us how much progress we’ve made since the last president supported a constitutional amendment ?banning same-sex marriage.

Today, we have a sitting president that publicly supports marriage equality and has pushed for protections against LGBT discrimination through executive action. Newsweek went as far as calling President Obama “The First Gay President” for his unprecedented public support as a sitting ?American president.

Even I still have my 2012 “LGBT for Obama” bumper sticker. I’ll hold on to it because I understand the magnitude of what it represents.

However, President Obama’s legacy in this area of civil rights will not go untarnished. In a stark reminder that politics is politics — no matter if you run against politics as usual — Obama adviser David Axelrod admitted that then-Sen. Obama misled the nation regarding his stance on same-sex marriage.

Axelrod admits in his new memoir that he counseled the president against coming out in support of same sex marriage in 2008 out of fear of alienating black churches, where gay marriage is deeply unpopular, and also of the position costing votes in ?battleground states. The admission is painful: Obama sold us out.

Yes, Obama eventually delivered. And yes, thanks to his administration, “don’t ask, don’t tell” is history and the Defense of Marriage Act further cracked on its own weight after the Justice Department refused to defend it in court. Not to mention the number of LGBT Americans that have received ?presidential appointments.

But that doesn’t change the fact that the LGBT community was a sacrificial lamb of sorts. Obama denied us and denied one of his beliefs for the “greater good” of ?getting elected. And it worked.

We’re light-years ahead of where we’d be if John McCain were elected. But going forward, we should look at this part of president’s legacy with both a grain of salt and appreciation.

It should be understood that it was the blood, sweat and tears of gay rights activists that changed public opinion on marriage equality and made it possible for Obama to tell his truth. At the same time, the President was more of a progressive than originally thought, cementing his legacy as a Democratic icon.

Obama isn’t the only politician who has “evolved.” And ultimately, it’s a good thing. But when marriage equality is a reality across America, let’s give credit where credit is really due.

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